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Clavin vows to cut staffing if elected Hempstead town supervisor

Town of Hempstead supervisor candidate Don Clavin details

Town of Hempstead supervisor candidate Don Clavin details his campaign priorities Saturday in Garden City. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Republican candidate Don Clavin announced his platform Saturday if elected Hempstead Town supervisor, vowing to cut government staffing and reform the town’s Industrial Development Agency and building codes.

Clavin, the town’s elected receiver of taxes, announced his ticket Saturday with more than 100 supporters outside his campaign office in Garden City. He was joined by several state, town and Nassau County officials, as well as Clavin’s running mates: Councilmembers Erin King Sweeney, Bruce Blakeman and Tom Muscarella, town clerk candidate Kate Murray and tax receiver candidate Jeanine Driscoll.

Democratic Supervisor Laura Gillen is seeking her second two-year term, joined by Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana, tax receiver candidate Chandra Ortiz and Town Board candidates Lora Webster, Shari James and Tom Tweedy, a Republican running on the Democratic ticket.

Clavin said he would bring tax relief and reform to the Town of Hempstead if elected.  He touted the Town Board’s 3.5 percent tax cut passed last year. Gillen voted against the budget because she said $12 million in projected retirement savings was not reliable.

“We have a quality of life second to none and we need someone we know with the maturity and experience to lead a diverse town,” Clavin said. "I can't do it alone. We have a team that works together and knows the priority of people ahead of ourselves."

Clavin laid out an agenda that included cutting $1 million from the town supervisor’s executive staff on day one of his administration and give it back to taxpayers. He said he would also eliminate take-home cars for exempt government employees.

Gillen’s campaign manager Michael Ousley said she cut her staff’s spending by $500,000 from that of previous Supervisor Anthony Santino. He said Gillen has reduced the number of take home vehicles, but is facing resistance from Republican department commissioners.

"Don Clavin supported over $90 million in tax increases during prior Republican administrations and I'm just getting started on eliminating the costly corruption tax," said Gillen. "Don't be fooled by the same old lies from a tired political machine. I'm the only elected member of the Town Board who hasn't voted to raise taxes."

Clavin called for a complete re-evaluation of the town’s department heads and would call for the resignation of all appointments by the supervisor and the town board. Clavin said he would conduct a management review of department heads and staffing qualifications.

If elected, Clavin said he would also review and reform the town’s IDA. He said the IDA should not offer any tax breaks below the current property taxes. Clavin said the IDA should pursue a transformative development zone to give developers benefits to transform neighborhoods and next generation housing, rather than provide tax breaks solely to businesses.

Clavin also vowed to increase funding for road repairs and to overhaul the town’s building department and zoning codes to provide easier access to developers and homeowners.

Gillen’s campaign said she has already doubled road funding from the previous administration and supported a sweeping state audit to find corruption in the building department.

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